Match notes: No. 18 CSU opens MWC play on the road

Sophomore OPP Dana Cranston

Sophomore OPP Dana Cranston

Sept. 22, 2010

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Match 12 | at BYU
7 p.m. MT | Sept. 24, 2010 | Provo, Utah | Smith Fieldhouse (5,000)
 • Live Stats:  Click Here
 • Television:  BYU-TV

Match 13 | at Utah
2 p.m .MT | Sept. 26, 2010 | Salt Lake City, Utah | Crimson Court (1,500)
 • Live Stats:  Click Here
 • Television:  CBS College Sports

Rams open conference on the road
The Colorado State volleyball team opens Mountain West Conference action this weekend, traveling to Utah to take on the BYU Cougars and the Utah Utes. 

The Rams and the Cougars meet at 7 p.m. MT Friday evening at Smith Fieldhouse in Provo, Utah.  The match will be televised live on BYU-TV, and is scheduled to re-air on The Mtn. on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. MT.

Colorado State then faces off against the Utah Utes at Crimson Court in Salt Lake City, Utah.  That match is also scheduled for a live national broadcast on CBS College Sports Network at 2 p.m. MT on Sunday. 

Locally, BYU-TV is found on Comcast (Channel 232), DirecTV (374) and Dish Network (9397).  CBS College Sports is available on Comcast (Channel 412) and DirecTV (613) and Dish Network (9495).  Fans should check with their service provider for availability.
 
Rams on the radio

All home matches and select road contests, will be broadcast live in the Fort Collins area on KCSU 90.5 FM.  Andy Boshoven (play-by-play) will call all the action from courtside.  Fans outside the normal listening area can access streaming audio via the Rams All-Access service on CSURams.com. 

Lights, cameras, action
Once again, Colorado State will be among the most televised teams in the Mountain West Conference.  CSU will appear on television at least five times this season, including matches vs. Colorado (CET - Aug. 31), at BYU (BYU-TV - Sept. 24), at Utah (CBS College Sports - Sept. 26), vs. TCU (The Mtn. - Oct. 14) and at New Mexico (The Mtn. - Nov. 11).

Follow the Rams online
Colorado State offers fans and media several options for following the CSU volleyball team.  In addition to CSURams.com, which is updated daily with all the latest news on CSU athletics, fans can also log onto RamVolleyball.colostate.edu for an inside look into all things Rams Volleyball.  In addition, CSU volleyball, and Head Coach Tom Hilbert are both on Twitter at twitter.com/CSUVolleyball and twitter.com/Coach Hilbert.  Rams volleyball is also on facebook, giving fans unprecedented access to CSU volleyball.     

A quick look at the Rams
Colorado State returned five starters and 10 letterwinners from a squad that went 25-6 (15-1 MWC), won the Mountain West Conference title, ranked No. 17 in the final top 25 poll, and appeared in the NCAA regional semifinals in 2009.  Add to that a recruiting class ranked No. 15 nationally by PrepVolleyball.com, and you have a team poised for big things entering 2010.

Recognized as one of the most consistent programs in the country over the past 15 seasons, CSU entered 2010 in search of its 16th consecutive season with 20-plus wins and an appearance in the NCAA tournament. 

The team received 15 of 16 first-place votes to run away with the top spot in the preseason Mountain West Conference rankings, tallying 134 total points.   

Senior OH Danielle Minch was tabbed as the preseason favorite to repeat as the MWC Player of the Year.  Junior S Evan Sanders, a 2009 all-MWC performer in her first season as a starter, was also selected as the preseason Setter of the Year.  Sophomore MB Megan Plourde also returns after a stellar year as a redshirt freshman in 2009, where she earned all-MWC honors, and along with Minch and departed senior libero Katelin Batten, was named to the AVCA all-West region and honorable mention All-America teams.   

About BYU
Head Coach Shay Goulding is in her third year coaching the Cougars, who have started off the 2010 season with a record of 3-9. Their most recent two losses were against No. 6 Hawaii, who they played in Hawaii last Friday and Saturday, falling 3-0 in both matches.  So far this season, BYU has also lost to AVCA-ranked opponents from Illinois (No. 6 on Aug. 27), and Nebraska (No. 7 on Sept. 3).  Friday’s matchup is the first in conference play for both teams in the 2010 season.  BYU leads the all-time series 48-24-1.  CSU has won two consecutive matches in the series, and five of the last six, while establishing a 17-9 advantage vs. the Cougars since the formation of the Mountain West Conference in 1999. 

About Utah
The Utes enter their first weekend of conference play with a record of 5-7, coming off of a 1-2 showing at last week’s ASU Sheraton Tournament in Tempe, Ariz.  The Utes closed the weekend with a five-set win over the host Sun Devils.  The Utes will take on the Wyoming Cowgirls on Thursday, and then face the Rams on Sunday at 2 p.m.  The Utes were selected to finish second in the MWC in the 2010 preseason coaches poll, while Colorado State was picked to win the league for the second consecutive season.  CSU leads the all-time series with the Utes, 48-24, including a 20-9 mark in the MWC.  The Rams swept two meetings in 2009 with a 3-0 win in Fort Collins and a 3-1 victory in Salt Lake City. 

Rams vs. the MWC
Since the formation of the Mountain West Conference in 1999, the Colorado State volleyball team has proven to be the most successful program in the league.  The Rams have compiled a record of 140-24 (.854) in Mountain West Conference matches, including an impressive 76-6 (.927) mark at Moby Arena vs. the MWC, and a 64-18 (.780) record on the road in league action  The team has averaged nearly 13 conference victories per season, and closed the 2009 season with 14 more victories than the next closest program, Utah (126-38).  BYU ranks third with a record of 116-48 against MWC opponents. 

CSU in MWC openers
Colorado State is an impressive 10-1 all-time in Mountain West Conference openers, with the lone loss coming in the 2006 opener at Utah.  The Rams open their MWC schedule Friday at BYU, where CSU also won a 3-0 decision to begin its 2003 leage slate. 

All-tournament honors
Colorado State’s duo of Jacque Davisson and Megan Plourde earned all-tournament honors following the Rams’ 2-1 showing at the University of Florida’s Campus USA Credit Union Invitational, Sept. 3-4.  Davisson was selected as the tournament MVP, leading the Rams in kills in each of the three matches, including a match-high 19 kills in a four-set loss to the then-No. 6-ranked Gators.  Davisson averaged 4.3 kills per set and was solid defensively with 24 digs and four total blocks on the weekend.  Plourde finished third on the team with 23 kills, leading the charge for the Rams with 10 total blocks.   

Plourde followed up that performance with another all-tourney nod - along with teammates Evan Sanders and Danielle Minch - at CSU’s Rams Volleyball Classic presented Poudre Valley Health System, Sept. 10-11.  

Minch was tabbed the tournament MVP, leading the Rams with double-digit kills in each match, including a personal season-high 13 kills vs. Northeastern.  Overall, Minch hit .304 (35-14-69) in three matches and recorded eight block assists and two service aces.  Plourde led all players with a .605 (28-2-43) hitting percentage over the weekend.  She also notched a tourney-leading 16 total blocks.  Minch and Plourde ranked 1-2 among all players at the tournament in points per set, at 4.56 and 4.06, respectively.  Sanders recorded a tourney-leading 95 assists (10.56 per set), helping CSU to a team hitting percentage of .314 in the three matches, including a season-best .400 team hitting percentage vs. Illinois State.   

Rams vs. ranked opponents under Hilbert
Colorado State is 36-42 against nationally ranked opponents under Head Coach Tom Hilbert.  Since 2007, when CSU’s current crop of seniors first stepped on campus, the Rams have posted a record of 5-4 in regular-season matchups against top-25 opponents, including CSU’s losses  at then-No. 6 Florida on Sept. 4 and vs. No. 24 Long Beach State on Sept. 17. 

Moby Madness
Moby Arena is one of the most distinctive and effective homecourt playing facilities in the nation.  Colorado State boasted a 15-3 mark at Moby Arena in 2009, and is 7-1 in 2010. 

Since Tom Hilbert’s arrival in Fort Collins in 1997, the Rams have hosted 34 nationally ranked opponents, coming away with victories in 23 of those contests.  Prior to the Rams’ Sept. 17 loss to No. 24 Long Beach State, CSU had defeated five consecutive ranked opponents at Moby Arena dating back to a 3-0 victory over No. 13 Ohio State on Aug. 30, 2007.  During that stretch, the Rams also hosted and defeated opponents from Florida (No. 8 on Sept. 13, 2008), BYU (No. 24 on Sept. 20, 2008), Arizona (No. 25 on Oct. 4, 2008), and Washington (No. 6 on Dec. 4, 2009). 

Record-breaking crowd
The Moby Arena faithful established a new single-match attendance record for CSU volleyball during the Rams’ season-opening victory over Duke on Aug. 27.  As part of a special “White Out” promotion, 6,333 fans packed the stands of Moby, eclipsing the old CSU volleyball attendance mark of 6,260 set in 1988 (vs. BYU).  The Rams’ record crowd also established a new single-match home record for the Mountain West Conference, surpassing CSU’s own record set vs. BYU in 2001 (5,486).  CSU now owns the top three home crowds in MWC volleyball history.

In addition, CSU’s home crowd vs. Duke marked the biggest crowd at Moby Arena for any sport since men’s basketball drew 8,597 against Wyoming on Feb. 24, 2007. 

Colorado State enters action this weekend ranked No. 7 nationally in attendance, averaging 2,547 fans per match through the team’s first six home matches of the season. 
 
Rams in the rankings
Colorado State closed the 2009 season ranked No. 17 in the AVCA Coaches’ top-25 poll.  It marked the 13th time since 1982 that the Rams appeared in the final national rankings.  Eight of those final national rankings have come under the guidance of Head Coach Tom Hilbert:  

Year Final Rank Record Postseason
1997 19 27-6 NCAA Second Round
1999 12 30-3 NCAA Regional Semifinal
2000 10 32-5 NCAA Regional Semifinal
2001 10 29-4 NCAA Regional Semifinal
2003 14 30-5 NCAA Regional Semifinal
2004 19 26-4 NCAA First Round
2008 24 23-7

NCAA Second Round

2009 17 25-6 NCAA Regional Semifinal

Poll position
The Colorado State volleyball team opened the 2010 season ranked No. 17 nationally in the AVCA coaches top 25 preseason poll released Aug. 17.  It marked the third consecutive season that Colorado State has appeared in the preseason top 25.  Following opening-weekend victories over Duke and Furman, the Rams jumped to No. 15 in the Week 1 poll released Aug. 30.  The Rams improved to No. 14 in the Week 3 poll, after a 3-0 showing at the Rams Volleyball Classic, Sept. 10-11.  CSU enters action this weekend ranked No. 18 in the nation, and has now been ranked in the AVCA poll for nine consecutive weeks, after cracking the top 25 for the final three regular-season polls of 2010 and finishing No. 17 in the season-ending poll after a postseason trip to the NCAA regional semifinals last December. 

The Rams roster
Colorado State returned a decorated roster for the 2010 season, including three players - Danielle Minch, Megan Plourde and Evan Sanders - who earned all-Mountain West honors in 2009.  Minch, a senior outside hitter, was named the 2009 MWC Player of the Year.  Head Coach Tom Hilbert is coming off of his seventh MWC Coach of the Year award.  Departed senior, Katelin Batten, also earned special recognition a the top libero in the league.  

In addition to the Rams’ returning lineup, CSU welcomes one of the top recruiting classes in the nation to Moby Arena.  The 2010 freshman class was ranked 15th nationally by PrepVolleyball.com, the highest ranking among Mountain West Conference schools.  It marked  the fifth time since 2005 that the Rams appeared on the list.  According to PrepVolleyball.com, the Rams’ incoming class of Deedra Foss, Marlee Reynolds, Katie Rutherford and Kelsey Snider, will rank as one of the most physical classes recruited by Hilbert and his staff.  In addition, the Rams have also added sophomore middle blocker Sam Peters, a product of Englewood, Colo. (Cherry Creek H.S.), who transferred to CSU after spending her freshman season at Santa Clara University. 

Key losses from 2009
Key losses for the Rams include a pair of senior starters from the 2009 squad, middle blocker Tessa Nelson and libero Katelin Batten.  Nelson ranks among the best blockers in school history and entered 2009 as the MWC’s preseason co-Player of the Year.  She closed out her career at CSU earning all-tournament honors for the NCAA Minneapolis Regional.  Batten, who rewrote CSU’s single-game, single-season and career record books for digs, had another stellar year in 2009, earning all-region and honorable mention All-America accolades.  Nelson and Batten both earned all-MWC honors as seniors.  

Returning all-region selections
Danielle Minch and Megan Plourde return to the Rams after earning American Volleyball Coaches’ Association (AVCA) all-West region honors in 2009.  Departed senior libero Katelin Batten was also selected.  By virtue of their selection to the all-region squad, the trio were also named AVCA honorable mention All-Americans.  

Hilbert reaches milestones in 2009
Head Coach Tom Hilbert eclipsed the 500-win plateau as a head coach in 2009, and enters the 2010 season with an overall record of 506-157 in 21 seasons.  His career win percentage of .763 ranks 11th nationally among NCAA DI head coaches.  Hilbert’s win percentage is even more impressive since arriving in Fort Collins, where he has amassed a record of 332-85 (.796) in 13 seasons at the helm. 

Up next
Colorado State will have a short turnaround for a non-conference road matchup against in-state rival Northern Colorado next Tuesday.  The Rams and the Bears meet for the 20th time in the series.  CSU leads, 13-6, and has won eight straight against the Bears, who were 21-12 and appeared in the NCAA tournament last year at Moby Arena.  The Bears are off to an 11-3 start to the 2010 season.  They host conference foe Sacramento State Thursday at the Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion. 


 

 

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